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Iowa extended contact tracing contract as cases plummeted

DES MOINES (AP) — As virus cases plummeted, Iowa quietly extended a $3.9 million contact tracing contract with a company owned by a major Republican Party donor and supporter of Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health hired MCI, an Iowa City telemarketing firm, in November to trace the contacts of Iowa residents infected with COVID-19 after a one-day emergency bidding process. 

The two-month, $2.3 million contract came during an explosion of cases that filled up hospitals with patients and after counties had for months complained of a shortage of contact tracing workers. 

Four days before MCI’s contract was to expire on Jan. 31, Iowa’s state epidemiologist signed a three-month contract extension with MCI that is worth another $1.6 million.

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